Report for Duty: Who Really Benefits from your Charitable Offerings?

This week, I want to challenge you. I will tell you from the outset, I intend to make you uncomfortable and to stretch you beyond where you typically live. Why? Because that is where growth happens, that is where the momentum begins, and that is how you become an unstoppable force for good beyond even your biggest dreams. I can comfortably assure this because I have witnessed it for myself in several areas already this year. 

Today, we’re going to look at charitable giving. My first question for you is, “how much are you giving to benefit other people?” Got your answer ready? Good because that’s not enough. Not even close. You are much more capable than you realize and give yourself credit for, and no, I am not suggesting you make major personal sacrifices and life-changing decisions n order to get there. In fact, it’s easier than you think.

Your Next Fitness Goal? Train Eight of the Smallest Muscles in Your Body

I learned something recently that, if I ever knew before, I had conveniently forgotten. Let me test your knowledge. Does the tongue contain any muscles? If you think the answer is yes, how many? Well, my title has likely given away the answer at this point, but I learned that, in fact, the tongue is made up of eight tiny muscles.

You likely have heard it said, as have I, that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body, but that is inaccurate. While it might not qualify for the strongest, we can certainly say that it is one of the hardest to train. As I continue to train myself and write and coach to help others become more adept at improving their lives by improving themselves, I want to challenge and encourage you this week to consider what you say and how you say it. 

Your Life, Your Goals: Far from Perfect but More than Enough

Everything I listen to and read these days talks about the anxiety that is pervading our society. Obviously, we are all dealing with a worldwide situation that is unlike anything we’ve ever encountered. That combined with a world that continues to change at warp speed, and some might argue not always in the best ways, is enough to heap stress on even the most at peace among us.

This leads me to encourage you to stop and reflect on the handful, or is it a scarce few, or perhaps only one person, who, despite all of the chaos and confusion around them, seems to chug right along. Not only do they appear unaffected, but they actually seem to find joy in the midst of it all. Or so it seems. I haven’t met a person recently, if ever, who doesn’t have challenges to overcome. The difference between those who show it and those who “go with the flow” is not some magic formula; it is simply the right mindset.

How Destructive are you Allowing your Growing Anger to Become?

Let me put your mind at ease. This is not another article written to promote a divisive agenda or stir up anger in any way. If you follow me at all, I hope you know by now that it is not my style at all. So I don’t want to make you angry today, but I do want you to consider your anger today. 

If you’re like me and pretty much every other human on the planet, you can easily justify your anger. And I’m guessing you do it much more than you realize. But before we get too far down the rabbit hole, allow me to pause you for a moment and to ask you to consider your own self-anger. Again, I’m sensing your dismissiveness around this topic, but I’m also betting there’s more smoldering under the surface than you realize.

The Essential Skill Needed: Act Your Way Into Feeling

If you’re like most people I know and talk to, you’re largely happy and fulfilled with what you are doing and where you perceive your life is headed. You work hard, you love well, and sometimes you even take a little time for yourself to recharge your batteries. I also hope in recent weeks, like me, you have been able and comfortable to regather with friends and in groups and to remember how great it is to interact with like-minded human beings. 

However, if they are honest, most people also feel a hole or a sense of loss in the pit of their stomachs. They know they could and should be doing more and fulfilling a higher calling in their life. For some people, it’s just a feeling. There is a clear picture they have in mind to accomplish, but the cares of the world and their jam-packed schedules never allow them the time to get where they want to go. And that leads to frustration. Sound familiar?

Freedom Thoughts: Accepting, Living, and Embracing It Every Day

This weekend as the United States celebrated its 245th birthday, I was struck by and seemingly surrounded by thoughts and messages of freedom. I confess to being a sentimental patriot. On Saturday I participated as a walking marshall in a local 4th of July parade. As we approached the end of the route, the crowd swelled significantly. , The patriotic music from my Rotary Club’s float that I was walking beside started playing The Battle Hymn of the Republic. And I became misty-eyed.

So many thoughts were racing through my head at once that I was incredibly grateful for. First and foremost, how wonderful it was to be able to even be out in public at a 4th of July celebration after nearly 18 months of quarantining and sheltering at home. The joy on the faces of everyone – from young children to senior citizens was just beautiful to me at that moment. And with the Hymn playing in the background, I found myself thanking God for the freedoms I and that we all enjoy.

Are You Choosing to be Intentional or Leaving Your Legacy to Chance?

Intentionality. It’s something I talk, write, and coach about a lot. Chances are, if you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you have heard this before. So why am I writing about it again? Because primarily, I think it is an evergreen message, and secondarily it is a message that can be relearned daily. 

Whether you know it or not, you are making an influence in the world. When we talk about people who make an influence or who we call an influencer, we think in grandiose terms. But the truth is, we all make a difference and have influence over other people. This week I want to coach you in writing to recognize it and to turn it more positively intentionally. 

Do Your Dreams and Goals Drive Your Success or Drive You Crazy?

Recently, I got into a discussion with one of my coaching clients about the importance of setting goals. Or lack thereof. I will admit, and if you read any of my work, this will come as no surprise that I am a freak about setting goals. And time management. And time blocking. And to-do lists. You get the picture.

However, my client made a salient point, and one of my goals for this year (I’m not even kidding) is to become a better listener and be open to new perspectives. So, I listened. And I considered this new information. And then, I decided to write this blog post to determine who is right. I plan to let you know by the time you and I finish this article.

The Science of your Thoughts. Do you Focus on Amygdala or Neocortex?

Recently, I have been reading, listening, and learning about the neuroscience of our brains. I will explain why shortly, but before you wonder if I am committed to learning more about how I and we make decisions, or if I should just be committed, allow me to explain my recent fascination briefly with neuroscience and how it shows our potential to become better decision-makers. 

As a writer, speaker, and coach, I have become obsessed with how people think and how I can help them train their minds to think not just differently but more positively. It turns out there is much to learn here. I will say from the outset that I have nothing more than the most basic and rudimentary understanding of my topic this week. But I hope when you learn a little more about it, that like me, the topic will pique your interest and encourage you to become a better version of yourself.

So, my basic learning has shown me that there are two key components to the limbic system of your brain that control how you receive and process information and what you do with it once you have received it. Although they are very different in their activities and information processing, they are equally important in understanding how we think and how we respond.

First, let’s meet our amygdala; I’ll call her Amy for short. Good, old Amy. She is the life of the party, but she can also be Debbie Downer. She is the girl who experiences and feels all of our emotions. Unfortunately, she tends towards Debbie more often than not. She is the one who teaches us to fear any impending danger, whether real or imagined. It’s the part of your brain that, if you see a snake crawling in your path or a fin heading toward you in the ocean, tells you to run (or swim) in the opposite direction ASAP!

Amy runs the gambit of emotions covering everything from sexual pleasure to terrifying fears or traumas. The old girl is always on the lookout for emotional opportunities, and fortunately, she is somewhat regulated by her close cousin Neo, also known as the neocortex. One of Amy’s shortcomings is she can’t talk, think, or make decisions; she can only feel. On the other hand, Neo might be referred to as, well, the brains of the operation. 

The neocortex is the part of the brain that has reasoning and decision-making capabilities. It takes all of the information that Amy gives him and considers logic, truth, past circumstances, and other inputs to make the right decisions. The good news is that while Amy is a little hard to control, training Neo can be trained to grow. This introduces a term called neuroplasticity. In layman’s terms, it means you can train your brain to develop new, better systems to make decisions every day and throughout your day.

According to my hasty research, it is widely held within the medical industry that the best way to increase neuroplasticity is through meditation and/or prayer. This is something that I write, speak, and coach about every day. The second similarly agreed-upon practice is journaling, which I have written about and transformed my mindset and decision-making each day. It is also working for almost every person I have recommended it to, either in coaching or casual one-on-one conversations. 

So, at this point, your question may be, “why does all of this matter?” I will say this. If we can train our brains to worry less and focus on the truth more, how much more productive could we be in each area of our lives? How much time do you spend each day worrying about things beyond your control or wishing you could replay a past conversation or decision? What if you invested even a fraction of that time focusing on positively impacting others and yourself through your next action and interaction?

Meditation, journaling, and intentional decision-making can transform your life. I believe it because I have seen it work in my life and the lives of others. There are many other ways to grow your mind and your results. I would challenge you with the words of the Apostle Paul:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

I can’t think of any better way to close this post than that! How about you?

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I also invite you to review my coaching page on my website here. I have only a couple of spots left in my Personal Development Coaching Practice. Each week I offer two free strategy sessions on a first-come, first-served basis to people interested in exploring how to become a person who pursues their goals and dreams. These precious hour-long sessions prove again and again to be invaluable to those who participate. You can book these directly on my coaching page – I look forward to serving you.

When You Join the Race Toward Peak Performance, What Do You Feed Your Mind?

I believe that everyone has aspirations of being better, doing better, and having more. Especially if you are reading this post and have followed my journey over the last couple of years, I attempted to give you aims, attitudes, and aspirations that you can use to achieve your biggest dreams and goals.

Yes, if you are honest with yourself, you want to leave a legacy for future members of your family, your friends, and your business and for your life to have mattered once you are near the end. Not everyone feels this way, but I don’t talk to or interact with many who don’t. They’re just not part of my audience. And that’s ok. But since you’re here, Mr. or Ms. Legacy Builder, let’s continue!